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Waters near Appin and Cuil Bay are being eyed-up as possible locations for pioneering salmon farmers.
Loch Long Salmon (LLS) has contacted Appin Community Council and already started sounding out neighbouring Duror Community Council.
Representatives from LLS attended this month’s Duror CC to give a presentation – the area they have mooted is Balnagown Island close to Cuil Bay.
Duror community councillor Jonathan Baxter said: ‘On the face of it, where they would potentially want to put the farm does not please us but we are open-minded and waiting for further news from them.
‘We have not discussed it yet as a community council, so we are neither for or against at the moment. We will see what they forward us next.’
Appin CC confirmed it had received an email from a salmon farm company but convener Charles Fothringham said there was nothing more to report on it yet.
LLS director Stewart Hawthorn said the company is in the process of setting up meetings with other community councils in the Loch Linnhe area as well as looking to identify other ‘great locations’ in Scotland.
‘At this time we do not have any final sites identified in Loch Linnhe, but have formally identified one location adjacent to Eilean Balnagown which is near Duror and Cuil. We have been formally granted a Lease Option Agreement (LOA) by Crown Estate Scotland for the Balnagowan area. This LOA allows us to more thoroughly investigate this particular site. We do not have any other LOA’s in Loch Linnhe at this time but we have identified a number of other areas of interest and will advise of these as we go forward,’ he said.
LLS promotes itself as a low impact salmon farming company focused on environmental stewardship and animal welfare.
The company claims its semi-closed farming systems, which would be the first-of-its-kind in Scotland, can stop sea lice attaching to the fish so there would be no need for chemical treatments.
It says its systems also have the capacity to catch salmon waste and uneaten food which can then be used as a natural fertilizer or in green energy production. The waste would be pumped to shore rather than collect on the seabed.
The pens look much like conventional pens from above but under the water have an opaque, outer barrier with an inner net protecting the farmed salmon from lice and predators, such as seals.
LLS is putting a planning application forward in October for its first site in Loch Long, Arrochar.
Mr Hawthorne told the Oban Times: ‘By using semi-closed farming systems we are changing salmon farming in Scotland for good. We hope that this will be recognised by the communities where we will operate and which we want to be a part of. We will use local service providers, people and knowledge wherever we can.
‘If other Community Councils or groups believe that they can suggest areas where we could consider setting up a low impact semi-closed farm we would love to hear from them.’